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Dynasty Rookie Draft Advice: Javon Baker (2024 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Rookie Draft Advice: Javon Baker (2024 Fantasy Football)

This is what we’ve been waiting for, fantasy football enthusiasts. The NFL Draft is under way, and we finally get to see where the rookie prospects are going to launch their professional careers. And NFL Draft landing spots allow us to start to zero in on fantasy football and dynasty rookie draft pick values.

Throughout the draft, we’ll take a closer look at fantasy-relevant prospects, giving you an overview of their strengths and weaknesses, and assessing their fantasy value in both redraft and dynasty formats.

Let’s dig in.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Outlook

Fitz’s Fantasy Football Outlook

The New England Patriots have drafted Javon Baker of UCF with the 10th pick of the fourth round.

Baker had two strong seasons for UCF to close out his college career after being roadblocked at Alabama as a freshman and sophomore. He had 56 catches for 796 yards and five touchdowns in 2022, then exploded for 52 catches, 1,139 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023, averaging 21.9 yards per catch with an average depth of target of 17.1 yards. Baker was a ruthlessly effective downfield weapon.

The 6-1, 202-pound Baker has good size and isn’t afraid to use it. He’s a physical receiver who comes down with more than his fair share of contested catches and isn’t afraid to mix it up with physical cornerbacks. Baker has good contact balances, making him dangerous after the catch.

Baker doesn’t have exceptional timed speed (4.54), and his route-running could use some polish. He’s also somewhat drop-prone, with 14 drops over his two seasons at UCF.

Baker can almost be too competitive at times, like when he drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for blowing a kiss at the Oklahoma sideline during an 86-yard touchdown catch against the Sooners. But Baker was terrific that day, with five catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

Baker joins fellow rookie Ja’Lynn Polk, a third-round selection, in a revamped Patriots WR room. Polk and Baker should both have an immediate opportunity to climb a sparse WR depth chart that includes Demario Douglas, K.J. Osborn, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kendrick Bourne. But the New England passing game could be among the least productive in the league this year as the Pats break in a new quarterback, rookie Drake Maye, the No. 3 overall pick.

In dynasty, I have Baker ranked WR17 among rookies and WR65 overall. Expect him to come off the board in the late second round or early third round of 1QB rookie drafts, or in the mid-to-late third round of superflex drafts.

Baker’s predraft FantasyPros Expert Consensus ranking was WR127 in half-point PPR formats, and he had a predraft Underdog best-ball ADP of WR87. I have Baker ranked WR80 for redraft.

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Thor’s NFL Draft Profile & Player Comp

Javon Baker | Central Florida
6012/202 | RAS: 7.84
Comp: Rashee Rice

Baker is a former five-star recruit who finally realized his potential after transferring from Alabama to UCF. He plays with an unmistakable attitude. Press corners better bring their boxing gloves and their tap shoes. Baker’s release package is a matrix of footwork. He’s not explosive off the line – he’s a build-up speed guy – but he releases clean and doesn’t waste time getting to work.

Baker was a veritable downfield assassin at UCF, with a bananas 17.1 aDOT. The thing that jumps out is the my-ball determination. Baker attacks the ball in the air and latches on, undeterred by contact. He’s one of the class’ best contested catch receivers, despite the bloated aDOT, going 20-for-36 in those instances the past two years, mostly in downfield scenarios.

Capable of winning at all three levels of the field, Baker is a serious YAC threat due to his combination of play strength and contact balance. I love his ability to spear off-frame balls on the move and keep chugging in the short and intermediate sectors – he had plenty of opportunities to showcase that ability with UCF’s up-and-down throwers the past few years.

Baker isn’t the most agile, but his overall routes are better than adequate, in part because he understands leverage and tempo, and in part because he can so quickly throttle into and out of route brakes. He does a decent job stacking, but Baker’s lack of elite wheels can lead to more company at the catch point when he’s tailed from behind.

Baker had a red-flag drop rate of over 10% the past two seasons, something he needs to clean up – this is a concentration issue, as his reel of highlight grabs would attest. But I’m not going to brush that aside, as it speaks to my biggest general question/concern regarding Baker’s evaluation – keeping his head in the game at all times.

When things aren’t going his way, or concepts are called to the other side of the field, you notice instances of half-heated “routes.” But when Baker is involved, and especially when he’s cooking, he has an infectious barking-dog energy to him on the field, someone who pumps up his teammates while driving opponents mad.

Baker drew plenty of criticism for blowing a kiss to the Oklahoma sideline during an 86-yard TD catch in October. That stunt drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a butt-chewing from coaches. What do people fail to mention? That play, which occurred right before halftime, immediately responded to the touchdown Oklahoma had just scored. It sent the 2-4 Knights to the locker room with a three-point lead over the heavily favored, undefeated Sooners. UCF was a failed last-second two-point conversion away from going to OT with the No. 6 ranked Sooners. Baker was in his bag all game long, finishing with a 5-134-2 line on six targets. I remember it well. I was holding a fat UCF +21 ticket in my pocket that day – Baker terrorized the Sooners.

Baker is your classic boom-or-bust profile. In my opinion, he has way more upside than he’s been given credit for. If Baker finds the right situation, with a staff that believes in him, and a staff that he in turn trusts, he’s going to be a steal. If he doesn’t, things could go the other way.

Check out more NFL Draft profiles and player comps from Thor in our 2024 NFL Draft Guide partner-arrow

Dynasty Rookie Draft Rankings

Our analysts provide their latest rookie draft rankings below. And also check out our expert consensus dynasty rookie draft rankings!

More Dynasty Rookie Draft Advice

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